Working Mom

I was having a conversation with Lisa this week about her new regular column at Catholic Mom. I’m so proud of her in how she’s developing as a writer and I’m impressed with her Little Moments and insights about daily events. She wanted to know when I’d be submitting regular columns to Catholic Mom. She seemed surprised when I told her that I don’t really feel like a “Catholic Mom.”

And I don’t. When someone asks me who I am or what I do, Mom is not the first response that comes to mind. I’m simply “Shelly” and the titles that follow are complex.

After years of developing and evolving my own self-identity as a daughter, sister, college student, graduate student, employee, Archivist, wife, sister-in-law, mother, and Catholic, I never considered myself just one of those things. Because I had a career that I loved first, and did not have the choice of leaving it when I had my first child, I’ve never really thought of myself as “Just a Mom.” I’ve always been a “Working Mom.” I’ve worked hard to find and maintain a sufficient balance in my two lives and do what works for our family.

I still love my career. I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive employer and access to positive, trustworthy, childcare. My job is five minutes away from the house and elementary school. The school is dominated by some wonderful stay-at-home moms who are as high-powered in their role as “Mom” as I am at my office. Ironically, at a time when many of my friends who left their careers to stay home with infants ten years ago are re-entering the workforce, I find myself wondering what it would be like to stay at home.

When I read posts that are 100% focused on being a Mom, I don’t always connect. I can easily see and understand the working-mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate. I occasionally listen to Lisa vent about having to do this or that and not having any time and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Yeah? Well I have to do the same things and I’m working 40 hours a week around it.”

I’d like to write more for Working Moms out there – our struggle to find that balance. My challenge will be finding the right tone. I don’t want to come across as complaining. I love my job. I love my family. I want to be successful at both, even though I recognize that I won’t be perfect at both.

I want to connect with more women who know what it means to feel conflicted when they can’t take a day off work to go on the school field trip with their kindergartener. Or who have to say to their older child you can’t join the church choir because they practice from 4-5 p.m. and I just can’t get you there. But they also love their career, their job, and know that feeling of satisfaction on the days when it all just clicks into place and you feel like you truly have it all.

So I’m challenging myself to write more, perhaps once a week, for those of you in the same situation. Please let me know you’re out there and what you’d like to hear about. We’re “Catholic Moms” too, even if we don’t feel like it all the time.


Shelly Henley Kelly